Kukla's Korner

Entries with the tag: jim balsillie

Guess Who’s This About?

From Eugene Melnyk, owner of the Ottawa Senators (via the Canadian Press):

As a businessman, I know about playing tough and getting your elbows up.

I also know lessons that most of us learned early in our childhoods - you play fair; you play by the rules and you help others when you can.


I used to privately feel sympathy for his plight, but as I’ve watched his conduct with and towards the league and other owners, I clearly believe the sport of hockey is better off without him.

You get three guesses who Melnyk is talking about and the first two don’t count (don’t look at this post’s tags). Read the whole thing here.

Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: jim+balsillie

Jim Balsillie’s Flaming Bag o’ Dog Poop

James Mirtle dug up a little thing about Jim Balsillie’s followers being prompted to spam Gary Bettman’s inbox. During this whole process—heck, even going back to when Balsillie tried to buy the Predators—I kept wondering how a guy who’s obviously really freakin’ smart in one way could be so dumb in another.

Or maybe not dumb, but petty, impatient, and childish. This “Spam Bettman” campaign is the virtual equivalent of toilet-papering the NHL offices (or perhaps the good ol’ flaming bag of dog poop). Annoying, attention-getting, but ultimately fruitless.

Jim, listen to me. What you’re doing is a collective waste of time. Bettman and the Board of Governors don’t bend to spam campaigns, online petitions, or public begging and pleading. How many online petitions did we see during the lockout? Heck, even local mayors got involved with letter-writing campaigns to beg and plead their part about how NHL games boost the local economy. What did that get them? Absolutely nothing.

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Filed in: NHL, | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: jim+balsillie, phoenix+coyotes

“I’m hungry and have to pee.”

That direct quote is from the poor soul who is stuck in a Phoenix courtroom. The full quote: “This is going non stop. I’m hungry and have to pee.”

Earlier, the boss pointed out that Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star was liveblogging the court hearing regarding the neverending Balsillie v. NHL battle. Now for us hockey fans, waiting until the puck drop for a game where Lord Stanley might be handed out is bad enough as it is. Now try imagining that wait while sitting through a court session where lawyers make petty arguments against each other.

What’s happened so far? Um…not a lot. In fact, between 1:30 PM and 2:45 PM (Arizona time), McGran had a total of five updates: one indicating he made a post on the Toronto Star’s website, one talking about the endless lawyer debates, one on his need to eat and relieve himself, and two—count them, two—on actual court happenings.

Perhaps the judge himself summed it up best: “If this is an endurance contest, I’ll concede.” Hang in there, Kevin; your diligence is much appreciated.

Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: jim+balsillie, phoenix+coyotes

Phoenix Coyotes: The Movie

All this talk about the Phoenix Coyotes and legal documents and lawyer arguments is making my head hurt (though I’m not free of blame as I’ve written about it quite a bit both on posts and comments). I think we all need to take a step back and look at it from a slightly lighter perspective.

Presenting Phoenix Legal, a new dramatic interpretation of the real-life courtroom battle unfolding in front of us starring Patrick Stewart, Bruce Campbell, William Shatner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the dudes from Office Space. It’s kind of like when E! had actors re-enact the Michael Jackson trial in semi-real time, except with movie clips.

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Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman, jim+balsillie, phoenix+coyotes, wayne+gretzky

“Make It Seven” Is PR Spin, Not Nationalism

For both supporters of both sides regarding the Jim Balsillie/Phoenix Coyotes debate, there’s one point I kindly ask you to drop. It’s a major sticking point, a PR agenda, but ultimately it’s nothing but empty jingoism. So please, drop any sort of national interests in this because while Balsillie’s PR team has cleverly wrapped up his intent in the Canadian flag, it ultimately has nothing to do with nationalism.

Think of it this way. When the Ottawa Senators were in financial trouble back in 2002, scuttlebutt had Balsillie ready to catch the proverbial ball if Eugene Melnyk’s group dropped it. If this whole thing was about Balsillie trying to “make it seven,” wouldn’t he bypass the opportunity to purchase a Canadian franchise and stick with trying to relocate an American one? When I asked Balsillie’s team about this very notion, they didn’t answer the question. Instead, they just said that they didn’t want to talk about the past and they wanted to focus on the current venture.

Fair enough. But by avoiding that issue, Balsillie’s team failed to really refute that argument and, in a way, cement their nationalistic argument. Sidestepping it pulls the curtain back on the Wizard of Blackberry.

And really, his true intentions are nothing to be terribly ashamed about. He simply wants to own a team from his favorite sport in his backyard. He’s a billionaire, so he’s got every right to do that. It’s his execution that’s flawed, arrogant, and screams more of an attention-getting brat than a clever businessman.

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Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: jim+balsillie, phoenix+coyotes

Would Hamilton Kill Buffalo?

When I sent Jim Balsillie’s spokesman the question about how a Hamilton team might affect the Buffalo market, they declined to directly answer. However, Jeff Klein of the New York Times gave it a good thorough look:

But the Sabres are always in a very precarious financial position, given Buffalo’s shrinking size and awful economy. The Sabres (company name Niagara Frontier Hockey, L.P.) depend on the roughly 15 percent of their business that comes from the Niagara Peninsula, all the way up the Golden Horseshoe to Hamilton. Never mind that after almost 40 years most of the Canadians who attend Sabres games do not root for Buffalo; the main thing is that they’re helping to fill the HSBC Arena.

It would take an enormous indemnification payment to the Sabres to make them give up as much as 15 percent of their annual business — an amount that Balsillie is trying to get out of paying by trying to strike down the N.H.L. territory rules in a Phoenix court. Unless the Sabres — who were themselves being operated by the league and at risk of folding before Golisano bought them in 2003 — get that kind of big money, they will never approve a Coyotes move to Hamilton that could easily drive them out of business.

Anyone interested in the situation—or if you’re a fan of the Buffalo Sabres—should read the entire thing here.


Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: buffalo+sabres, jim+balsillie

Balsillie’s Team Answers

Yesterday, I asked readers to let me know what questions they’d like to ask the spokesman for Jim Balsillie’s Make It Seven team. Here’s what he had to say.

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Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: jim+balsillie, phoenix+coyotes

Ask (The Spokesman For) Jim Balsillie

Last night, I got an email from the folks behind Make It Seven —the official website of Jim Balsillie’s efforts to bring the Phoenix Coyotes to Canada. I’ve asked if they’d be open to taken questions from readers both for and against the move, and they’ve agreed.

So, whether you want the Coyotes to stay in Phoenix or you want Shane Doan and company to head up past the border, if you have questions for Jim Balsillie’s team (note that Balsillie himself will not be answering it; instead, all communication will be coming from Bill Walker, his spokesman for this initiative), leave it in the comments below. Mr. Walker won’t be able to answer all of them, and given the nature of the situation, we may just get PR spin on the whole thing, but let’s gather your pro and con questions and see what happens.

Filed in: | Mike Chen's Hockey Blog | Permalink
  Tags: jim+balsillie, phoenix+coyotes

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